A Life in the Sun – Malta’s Attractions

MEDIA ROOM

This is Malta – Ever-evolving and offering a first-class experience to its visitors who are inevitably enthralled by its charm. Situated at the very heart of the Mediterranean Sea, with easy access from all major cities in Europe, North Africa and neighbouring states, the islands have a numerous advantages to offer. It is no surprise that Malta was listed by Forbes as one of the top countries to retire to – just shortly after the World Risk Report placed Malta as the second safest country. What’s more – Malta’s property market continues to offer excellent value for money, giving investors and expats great odds for finding a home to pride themselves of.

Further to the increased interest Malta is experiencing, the government of Malta has thus in the last four years put a number of programmes in place aimed at attracting high-net-worth individuals to become tax residents and citizens of Malta. As the Daily Mail put it, Malta has been elevated into the ‘premier league’ of Mediterranean destinations.

In this piece, we provide you with an overview of Malta’s main attractions and incentives.

Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta (IIP)

This investment programme shall allow for the grant of citizenship by a certificate of naturalisation to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to Malta’s economic development. The investment required in terms of property includes the acquisition of a property having a minimum value of €350,000 or the lease of a property for a minimum annual rent of €16,000 which must be retained for at least 5 years.

One must also invest an amount of at least €150,000, in stocks, bonds, debentures, special purpose vehicles, or other investment vehicles, and retain it for at least 5 years. An additional contribution is required; €650,000 for the main applicant; €25,000 for the spouse; €25,000 for every child below 18 years of age; €50,000 for every unmarried child between 18 years of age and 26 years of age and €50,000 for every dependant parent above 55 years of age.

*An application seeking the naturalisation as a citizen of Malta under the IIP must be submitted by an Accredited Person. CSB Group is accredited by Identity Malta, and may assist with applications and property requirements.

High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI)

Citizens from the EU, the EEA and Switzerland can apply for this special tax status in Malta. The special tax status was issued by the Minister of Finance in 2011 in the form of the “High Net Worth Individual Rules”, which means that the income of the individual who has been granted the special tax status that is received in Malta from foreign sources is taxed at the flat rate of 15% (over and above minimum tax). The beneficiary also has the right to request a claim for relief for double taxation, provided that the minimum amount of tax payable in Malta has been settled. Requirements for the purchase/rent of immovable property in Malta as per this programme stand at €400,000 and €20,000 respectively.

Global Residence Programme (GRP)

The same 15% tax rate (subject to a minimum tax) applies to third country nations, who avail of the Global Residence Programme and who also satisfy the conditions laid down in the mentioned rules. This programme varies slightly from the HNWI Rules, but is all-in-all more advantageous, with the purchase/rent of immovable property in Malta at €275,000 and €9,600 respectively.

Highly Qualified Persons Rules (HQP)

In 2010, the Highly Qualified Persons Rules (HQP) introduced tax benefits available to senior employees of companies licensed or recognised by the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority or which hold an air operators’ certificate issued in terms of the Civil Aviation Act. Senior employees may opt to pay tax at the flat rate of 15% on employment income of at least €81,205 per annum for the basis year 2014 that is derived in respect of work or duties carried out in Malta. Eligible employments and offices in terms of the rules include: CEO, CRO, CFO, COO, CTO, CCO and portfolio manager amongst others.